Reshuffling the deck to tackle economic disparity

I am no Economist. I do love data analysis as it helps to put situation in more objective perspective.

Reading about Nigeria unemployment rate to be at 6.4%, naturally I thought someone must be having a good joke at the expense of the general public. Then I read the reports produced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that backs this up, according to the report, unemployment isn’t our problem based on sampled survey of 33,300 private households and 199,800 individuals conducted in all of our 36 states over a period of two years.

So the real problem we have is underemployment, meaning most people of working age already are involved in one income generating activity or the other, all they had to do is work some more per week.

Lots of energies devoted into explaining the definition to the aggrieved Nigerians. There, I understood why Nigerians reading this report were upset, why did it focus on one aspect of underemployment definition of part-term employment? Why not talk about those who are working full-time but the salary isn’t just enough to meet the basic needs?

Statistical analysis will tell exact tale one sets it out to tell.

So a question was posed – how many people do I know of working age that aren’t working?

For some reason, I prefer to answer this question as opposed to wasting time reading report that justifies Nigeria unemployment rate is currently at 6.4% while stats on income disparity was out of the equation.

For example: I know a friend who has a teaching degree & law degree. She recently says she’s looking for a new job as her current one where she works from 9am to 6pm, Mon to Fri and occasional weekend at a private law firm in Ibadan pays ₦15k/month. She was excited to get the job mid last year with the hope of building up a career. While it is exciting to have this opportunity, she relies on her partner to foot the bill most of the time despite her working full-time – her take home after transportation has been ₦1,500.

She is 35 years old. Which category can we put this lady? Underemployed?

During the last university lecturer’s strike that lasted 6 months, my nephew took up a job at an IT office assisting graduate students to type and make photocopies, he was paid ₦7k/month. With being sensible of legging it halfway, he spent ₦3k/month on transport. Many of his age mates slept rough on campus to safe on transport, well, I don’t think one has to go that far to teach youths how tough Nigeria is so for him he was a lot more blessed than many of his age. If he had to contribute towards rent, he wouldn’t break even. He was 19 years old at the time.

Some real people story are more pitiful than others, actually both people above are still very lucky as many who have worked really hard to get any form of qualification are really struggling, evidence on the street.

I think people who are in key positions in Nigeria should be mandated to go on the streets to observe people as they go round their businesses before deciding where it’s best to focus data collections as to get better understanding on the best way to help common man on the road.

The so-called underemployed Nigerians, even if they had to work 24/7 – their lifestyle isn’t going to be any different – maybe reshuffling income deck so it trickles down fairly to working people is a better way of helping the masses, therefore where Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics should shed more lights.